I am really glad that Simon Jenkins, a veteran warrior against ugly new developments – he has been a member of the committee of Save since 1976 and I first encountered his work as the author of The Companion Guide to Outer London published in 1981 – has now weighed in on the scandalous and monster proposed building on the south bank which is on a scale which may be tolerable next to Battersea Power Station, but not opposite Somerset House.
People seem to have completely forgotten that there was a big battle over this stretch of the river in the 1980s when instead of a big new development by Richard Rogers, Coin Street built a small park and clever new housing by Lifschutz Davidson. The river path is rightly and deservedly hugely popular because of the way it joins up interesting buildings south of the river. Now six councillors in a committee room in Brixton have decided to destroy what remains of Canaletto’s view from Westminster Bridge.
It’s a scandal, not least because, as Jenkins correctly implies, it is often lubricated by wining and dining. I have been told that the key to winning Sir Simon Milton’s approval was to serve him his favourite wine. One wonders why Lord Lister who has worked his life in local government is now so rich. It is because we now live in an old Etonian version of a banana state. The only solution is going to be be at the ballot box to vote these people into eternal perdition.